Emmaus International

15th June 2017 - The Minister of the Interior has outlined some initial intentions on migration policy and we deplore the absence in these comments of the need to put an end to police violence against migrants and refugees. In addition, nothing was mentioned about ending the intimidation of citizens and associations who work in the field, offering welcome and solidarity to migrant people.

The current situation clearly highlights that policies including a repressive management of international migration and not respecting right to asylum, as we have seen in the majority of European countries and notably in France, have been an appalling failure. This is because wars, human rights violations, increasing inequalities and worsening climate catastrophes have pushed people onto the path of exile and because no police force in the world will ever be able to stop young people from seeking a better future or prevent families from wanting to protect their children. The minister talked about "stopping the flow of arrivals", this is a delusion, a lie that is costing us dear with thousands of people dying in the Mediterranean or on European motorways every year - the human suffering is unbearable. There is also a financial cost with hundreds of millions of euros being wasted on this year on year. Other consequences include increased tension in certain regions and shocked, exhausted volunteers and citizens. Such policy choices create fractures within our countries, put people in opposition to others and encourage rejection of others and inward-looking attitudes.

As members of national associations and groups of migrants and citizens united through local initiatives for solidarity with migrants we represent a large proportion of organised 'civil society' and every day we are in the field trying to cover any unmet needs and stop these blind, inhumane public policies. In recent months we have seen tens of thousands of people commit to displaying the most fundamental type of humanity in their local areas by offering some comfort and dignity to people who have been overwhelmed by the suffering and danger experienced on journeys where their fundamental rights are denied by State authorities.

Faced with this true 'state of emergency' we call upon political and administrative leaders to start looking into the real questions, such as: does our conception of justice tolerate that solidarity activists be harassed and judged as criminals or that the distribution of food be banned under municipal decree? Are fundamental rights, that we hope are respected all across the globe, compatible with detaining thousands of people just because they tried to survive and build a better future for themselves?

We, who work every day to build a France of welcome and solidarity, call upon the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister to urgently convene a multi-stakeholder conference focused on alternative, humane, solidary policies for welcoming migrants and for access to rights.

Organisation and citizens' movements can still sign this appeal, please write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you wish to do so.

See the list of signatories